The governor said in an official request to the Department of Administration Executive Director Marcia Adams that he is seeking to have “the social media platform TikTok be permanently removed, and access blocked from all state government electronic devices” managed by the department.
“Protecting our State’s critical cyber infrastructure from foreign and domestic threats is key to ensuring the health, safety, and well-being of our citizens and businesses,” McMaster said. “Federal law enforcement and national security officials have warned that TikTok poses a clear and present danger to its users, and a growing bi-partisan coalition in Congress is pushing to ban access to TikTok in the United States.”
“The General Assembly has recognized the dangers and inefficiencies of our State’s ‘siloed’ cyberinfrastructure and has encouraged state agencies to partner with the department. This partnership allows the State’s cyberinfrastructure to be maintained and managed in a comprehensive and cohesive fashion,” he added.
Today I took action to block access to TikTok on state government devices. Law enforcement and national security officials have warned us that TikTok poses a clear and present danger to its users, and this further protects our state’s critical cyber infrastructure. pic.twitter.com/yXzTyxXQWf
— Gov. Henry McMaster (@henrymcmaster) December 5, 2022
A spokeswoman for McMaster could not confirm to the Post and Courier how long it will take ban access to TikTok on the devices.
“Overall, the identified phones and tablets represent less than 10 percent of all state-owned devices,” the outlet reported. “The total for all such items supplied by the state and self-reported to the department in a recent annual survey was 75,222. The number does not include public colleges, the General Assembly or the state court system.”
FBI Director Christopher Wray warned in November that the Chinese app TikTok has proved a national security threat.
“Under Chinese law, Chinese companies are required to essentially — and I’m going to shorthand here — basically do whatever the Chinese government wants them to do in terms of sharing information or serving as a tool of the Chinese government,” Wray told the House Homeland Security Committee.
Republican South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem recently banned TikTok on state devices, citing national security concerns.
“South Dakota will have no part in the intelligence gathering operations of nations who hate us. The Chinese Communist Party uses information that it gathers on TikTok to manipulate the American people, and they gather data off the devices that access the platform,” Noem announced.